In a green meadow filled with Milkweed and flowers there lived a colony of caterpillars. They were a happy colony, living a quiet life in the cool shade. For many months they were very busy, scurrying around and munching on the soft Milkweed leaves.
They did notice that every once in a while one of the colony seemed to lose interest in crawling around with its friends. It would go off alone and crawl high up in the trees. It gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
“Look!” said one of the caterpillars to another, “one of our colony is climbing up to the tops of the trees. Where do you think he is going?” Up, up and up it slowly went…even as they watched, the caterpillar disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return.
“That’s funny!” said one caterpillar to another. “Wasn’t he happy here?” asked another. “Where do you suppose he went ?” wondered a third. “I wonder what it is like up there?“ said another. No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled.
Finally one of the caterpillars gathered its friends together. “I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs to the tops of the trees must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.” “We promise…” they all said solemnly.
One spring day not long after, the caterpillar who had suggested the plan found herself climbing high up into the trees. Up and up she went, higher and higher into the trees. Before she knew what was happening she had broken through the canopy of leaves into the warm sunlight and fell into a deep sleep.
When she awoke she looked about in surprise. She couldn’t believe what she saw. A startling change had come over her old body. She now had beautiful wings!
Even as she struggled she felt an impulse to move her wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from her new body. She moved her wings again and suddenly found herself flying into the blue sky.
She had become a butterfly. Swooping and dipping in great curves she flew through the air. She felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new butterfly landed on a leaf to rest. Then it was that she chanced to look below to the bottom of the meadow. Why, she was right above her old friends the caterpillars! There they were, crawling around and munching on Milkweed, just as she had been doing before.
Then the butterfly remembered her promise. Without thinking the butterfly darted down. She landed on a flower and looked into the grass. Now that she was a butterfly she could no longer go back.
“I can’t return!” she said in dismay. “At least I tried, but I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the caterpillars would know me in my new body. They could not recognize such a beautiful creature as ever having been one of them. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become butterflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me and where I went.”
And the butterfly winged off happily into its new world of sun and air.
Your child's spirit is with God. As David said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” Take what comfort you can that you will be with them again in eternity. And until then, take the love you have for them and share it with all the rest of us left here in the meadow.